Jump to content




Welcome to Unexplained Mysteries! Please sign in or create an account to start posting and to access a host of extra features.


* * * * * 1 votes

The Ulfberht Swords

viking sword ulfberht

  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1    DieChecker

DieChecker

    I'm a Rogue Scholar

  • Member
  • 18,330 posts
  • Joined:21 Nov 2005
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portland, Oregon, USA

  • Hey, I'm not wrong. I'm just not completely right.

Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:04 AM

I was watching this Nova special on Netflix and wanted to discuss/share.

http://video.pbs.org/video/2284159044/

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Viking_sword

Apparently these Ulfberht swords were the most effective, expensive, high status swords for the time in Europe. They appear to be made of a much finer steel then the local swords. Who made them is a mystery. What the word "Ulfberht", that was engraved/inset into the blade means is also a mystery.

The metallurgy needed to make this steel did not exist in Europe for almost 1000 years after these blades were created. It is supposed that the steel came out of the Middle east as the steel has similarities to the Damascus steel, which itself is also surrounded by mysterys.

A very interesting show...

Here at Intel we make processors on 12 inch wafers. And, the individual processors on the wafers are called die. And, I am employed to check these die. That is why I am the DieChecker.

At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Qualifications? This is cryptozoology, dammit! All that is required is the spirit of adventure. - Night Walker

#2    jaylemurph

jaylemurph

    Lector Historiae

  • Member
  • 8,848 posts
  • Joined:02 Nov 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle, WA

  • "You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make him think." Dorothy Parker

Posted 17 July 2013 - 03:12 AM

I have heard in re: other kinds of steel -- particularly Toledo and Damascus steel --  that their particular strength or quality is a result of trace elements and proportions of them unique to local sources (rather than skill of the fabricators) of iron that are more or less quickly mined out. This seems to me likely to be a case of that. But that's just the opinion of a non-science-y dude like me. I'm certainly not likely to know more than the people making an episode of Nova.

...but I totally want to see this episode, though.

--Jaylemurph

"... amongst the most obstinate of our opinions may be classed those which derive from discussions in which we affect to search for the truth, while in reality we are only fortifying prejudice."     -- James Fenimore Cooper, The Pathfinder

Posted Image

Deeply venial

#3    coolguy

coolguy

    Psychic Spy

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,947 posts
  • Joined:06 Feb 2011
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:east islip , new york

  • Star trek rules

Posted 17 July 2013 - 03:55 AM

Interesting story thanks for posting


#4    Alisdair.MacDonald

Alisdair.MacDonald

    Ectoplasmic Residue

  • Closed
  • Pip
  • 143 posts
  • Joined:07 Jun 2012

Posted 17 July 2013 - 05:32 AM

A good sword was so valuable that it was not difficult to believe by some that they were imbued with magickal qualities. Take a look at the forging of a traditional Japanese katana for example.


#5    Tutankhaten-pasheri

Tutankhaten-pasheri

    Buratinologist

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,637 posts
  • Joined:22 Sep 2012
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:страна дураков

Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

"Ulfberht" = Albert the wolf. Makers name or name of sword owner. High end swords in Northern Europe in those days were "pattern welded". This is similar to how katana are made, I think.


#6    DieChecker

DieChecker

    I'm a Rogue Scholar

  • Member
  • 18,330 posts
  • Joined:21 Nov 2005
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portland, Oregon, USA

  • Hey, I'm not wrong. I'm just not completely right.

Posted 17 July 2013 - 08:32 PM

View PostTutankhaten-pasheri, on 17 July 2013 - 12:11 PM, said:

"Ulfberht" = Albert the wolf. Makers name or name of sword owner. High end swords in Northern Europe in those days were "pattern welded". This is similar to how katana are made, I think.
The expert on the show said they were forged out of a single piece of crucible steel. And crucible steel was unknown in Europe at the time. But was being done in the far middle east and India. The Vikings could have gotten such steel by way of their Volga trade route that ran to the Black Sea and then over to Iran.

The show did say that the name was probably Frankish in origin, but it is unknown if the swords were actually made by the Franks or not. The Franks certainly did not have crucible steel, or even traded with nations that had crucible steel.

Edited by DieChecker, 17 July 2013 - 08:35 PM.

Here at Intel we make processors on 12 inch wafers. And, the individual processors on the wafers are called die. And, I am employed to check these die. That is why I am the DieChecker.

At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Qualifications? This is cryptozoology, dammit! All that is required is the spirit of adventure. - Night Walker

#7    cormac mac airt

cormac mac airt

    Telekinetic

  • Member
  • 7,598 posts
  • Joined:18 Jun 2008
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tennessee, USA

Posted 17 July 2013 - 08:49 PM

View PostTutankhaten-pasheri, on 17 July 2013 - 12:11 PM, said:

"Ulfberht" = Albert the wolf. Makers name or name of sword owner. High end swords in Northern Europe in those days were "pattern welded". This is similar to how katana are made, I think.

My understanding is that it's not the same thing. Particularly as the cutting edge side of the katana's blade is traditionally comprised of nearly 1000 layers of the same steel folded over and over again to increase endurance and the ability to retain a razor-sharp edge. This can be seen by the outward appearance of layers in the blade. I have an 1890s era Katana that still retains a very sharp edge.

cormac

The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. --  Plato's Timaeus

#8    Tutankhaten-pasheri

Tutankhaten-pasheri

    Buratinologist

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,637 posts
  • Joined:22 Sep 2012
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:страна дураков

Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:22 PM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 17 July 2013 - 08:49 PM, said:

My understanding is that it's not the same thing. Particularly as the cutting edge side of the katana's blade is traditionally comprised of nearly 1000 layers of the same steel folded over and over again to increase endurance and the ability to retain a razor-sharp edge. This can be seen by the outward appearance of layers in the blade. I have an 1890s era Katana that still retains a very sharp edge.

cormac
Yes, it's not exactly the same. Pattern welded swords are twisted not folded, though it gives a similar effect, though not to standard of katana. The Sutton Hoo sword is pattern welded and a scan, which I cannot find, of the blade shows a similar pattern to katana, though no hamon of course. That sword, as you will know, is Angle, and predates the Viking age, though there were items found with it that are Byzantine. Though by what route they got to Anglia can never be known.

Edited by Tutankhaten-pasheri, 17 July 2013 - 09:23 PM.


#9    Tutankhaten-pasheri

Tutankhaten-pasheri

    Buratinologist

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,637 posts
  • Joined:22 Sep 2012
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:страна дураков

Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:25 PM

View PostDieChecker, on 17 July 2013 - 08:32 PM, said:

The show did say that the name was probably Frankish in origin.
And further proof that the Franks were Germanic. I mention it because some dispute this, generally the French.......


#10    Pax Unum

Pax Unum

    < 420 Conspirator >

  • Member
  • 18,745 posts
  • Joined:06 Feb 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Suburbia

  • "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle

Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:05 PM

Quote

Around the 10th century, the use of properly quenched hardened and tempered steel started to become much more common than in previous periods. The Frankish 'Ulfberht' blades (the name of the maker inlaid in the blade) were of particularly consistent high quality.[14] Charles the Bald tried to prohibit the export of these swords, as they were used by Vikings in raids against the Franks.

Sword Middle_Ages


#11    DieChecker

DieChecker

    I'm a Rogue Scholar

  • Member
  • 18,330 posts
  • Joined:21 Nov 2005
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portland, Oregon, USA

  • Hey, I'm not wrong. I'm just not completely right.

Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:37 AM

View PostPax Unum, on 17 July 2013 - 10:05 PM, said:

I found that earlier by using google. I suspect that these swords are labeled as Frankish chiefly because the are using Frankish script.

The show said how there were 200+ of these swords, but the expert on the show said that only about 1 in 3 were crucible steel. The rest were very likely local made knock offs. One way that the knock off could be determined was with the spelling of Ulfberht.

The inscription "+ULFBERH+T" is found only on the crucible steel swords.

The inscription "+ULFBERHT+" is associated only with the inferior quality swords.

Posted Image

Edited by DieChecker, 18 July 2013 - 04:42 AM.

Here at Intel we make processors on 12 inch wafers. And, the individual processors on the wafers are called die. And, I am employed to check these die. That is why I am the DieChecker.

At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Qualifications? This is cryptozoology, dammit! All that is required is the spirit of adventure. - Night Walker

#12    Pax Unum

Pax Unum

    < 420 Conspirator >

  • Member
  • 18,745 posts
  • Joined:06 Feb 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Suburbia

  • "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle

Posted 18 July 2013 - 03:03 PM

Quote

Two of the more well-known inlaid maker's marks are Ulfberht and Ingelrii. The marks are often augmented with crosses on either end of the inlay and with inlaid geometrical patterns on the reverse side of the blade. The Ulfberht inscription appears on swords dating from roughly the years 800 to 950, while the Ingelrii inscriptions was used from roughly 950 through 1050. The sketch (left) shows the ULFBERHT inlay, but the artist has made the inlay much more visible than is typical to the naked eye.

Quote

So many swords are found, manufactured over such a wide span of years, that these swords clearly are not the work of two smiths named Ulfberht and Ingelrii. They are thought to be the products of families of sword makers, or perhaps associations of sword makers. The swords are believed to have been made in Frankish lands along the lower Rhine in what is now Germany, a region that has made fine swords and cutlery from medieval to modern times.


Because many of these blades are found, widely distributed throughout the Viking lands, it is believed that the Ulfberht and Ingelrii swords were prized in the Viking age and thought to be superior to other swords. It's possible that the original Ulfberht invented a new way to make a blade, using a uniform steel having a higher carbon content than the pattern welded blades. It's further possible that he chose to identify his blades with the inlay, despite the fact that the inlaid letters are extremely hard to distinguish in normal light, as is seen in the modern reproduction blade seen above. Only when the blade is etched does the inlay stand out in sharp relief.


Ulfberht's success brought forth imitators, and it appears that Viking-age smiths made counterfeit Ulfberth (and later, Ingelrii) blades. Some of the surviving blades bearing these inlays are clearly inferior copies. In some cases the inscription is spelled wrong or is otherwise corrupt. One surviving blade is inlaid with Ulfberht on one side and Ingelrii on the other, a double counterfeit! The best indication of a genuine blade appears to be the metallurgical quality, an area which has received insufficient research. Additionally, it is likely that additional Ulfberht and Ingelrii blades remain to be identified, since the inlays are sometimes not visible to the naked eye and are revealed only by X-ray analysis.


viking_sword


#13    Aus Der Box Skeptisch

Aus Der Box Skeptisch

    apologist by opinion

  • Member
  • 2,778 posts
  • Joined:19 Aug 2010
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:arizona (originally the wisconsin/minnesota area eh!)

  • Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ―Siddhārtha Gautama

Posted 19 July 2013 - 04:44 AM

Great show. I learned a lot. A great starter point for thought trail research. BTW the whole Germanic French thing.... more Franco Germanic than Germanic Franco... LOL. I jest. Anyways excellent show. And the sword maker on the show was from northern Wisconsin my stomping grounds I'm my youth so huge props for that. Ill stop back later for actual discussion if there is any.

"Though I stand in opposition to you, I am not opposed to you. Night and Day stand in opposition to each other, but they are not opposed to each other -they are merely two halves of the same coin."

#14    Harry_Dresden

Harry_Dresden

    Apparition

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 255 posts
  • Joined:29 Jun 2013
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:You don't need to know...

  • Good morning all...nice to see the assassins have all failed.

Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:12 AM

For a marauding , raping and pillaging group of guy's, i find it hard to believe these Vikings, knew and were capable of producing such technologically innovative swords.. more than likely the Greeks of Constantinople, paid them off with swords for service..


#15    Tutankhaten-pasheri

Tutankhaten-pasheri

    Buratinologist

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,637 posts
  • Joined:22 Sep 2012
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:страна дураков

Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:05 AM

View PostHarry_Dresden, on 19 July 2013 - 07:12 AM, said:

For a marauding , raping and pillaging group of guy's, i find it hard to believe these Vikings, knew and were capable of producing such technologically innovative swords.. more than likely the Greeks of Constantinople, paid them off with swords for service..
Well, it is like saying that due to their invading and genocide, the nazis could not have possibly had the technology to produce Tiger tanks or jet aircraft. The Vikings did produce their own weapons, and also built some of the best and most beautiful ships ever seen.
This is the Oseberg ship from 8th or early 9th century
Posted Image

And their very close relatives, the Angles, were capable of producing wonders such as this several hundreds of years before the Viking period even began.
The Sutton Hoo belt buckle
Posted Image

A not so dark "dark age"

Edited by Tutankhaten-pasheri, 19 July 2013 - 08:17 AM.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users